Brendan Rodgers has ruled out any possibility of sending Liverpool defender Joe Gomez out on loan this season, following his impressive performance during the 2-1 pre-season victory over Brisbane Roar.
Gomez, playing at left-back in the absence of Alberto Moreno, looked very sure-footed alongside his senior teammates and also matched the attacking exploits of fellow defender Nathaniel Clyne down the opposite flank.
The news will no doubt please Liverpool fans, who looked hugely impressed by the teenager’s exploits, both in Bangkok on Tuesday and in Australia three days later.
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Gomez, who only turned 18 two months ago, played 21 times for Charlton Athletic last season and many critics expected that the England Under-19 international could return to the Championship club on loan to help aid his development (via BBC Sport).
However, the defender looks to be an incredible bargain at just £3.5m (via BBC), and Rodgers now expects the player to stay and fight for his opportunities in the first-team.
“He’s staying,” he confirmed, in quotes on our official website. “I’ve seen enough in this period; you judge young players, I always bring them in and over pre-season have a good idea of whether we’re going to keep them or not. Seeing him, in particular close at hand and his personality – he’ll be staying, he’ll get games.
“He’s only 18 years of age, but seeing him play at left-back for the first time, he looked an outstanding athlete and a really good footballer. I’ve seen him at centre-half and at right-back, but I wanted to see him at left-back – and I thought he was outstanding.
“Gomez has played there a lot of his career,” continued the boss. “We took him in from Charlton where he played as a centre-half as a two, played in a back three and he’s also played as a right-back, so he’s got all the tools to play across the back four. You saw him tonight play at left-back – he’s a big talent.”
This could mean a third loan deal for Tiago Ilori, who has not featured thus far in pre-season after being granted an extended holiday period.
The Portuguese took part in the European Under-21 Championship last summer and played well. However, with Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Lovren and Kolo Toure all ahead of him in the centre-back pecking order and Gomez and Andre Wisdom available to provide cover, he could find himself surplus to requirements.